| hi, I'm Allison and I am new to internet and e-mail, so please be gental with
| me. What I would like to know is where the celts are from, geographically.
| Also, what are their traditions and religious beliefs??? Plus, what are/were
| the uses for celtic knot work? Was it simply used for adornments, or a more
| practical purpose?? Anyway, could someone just give me a short historical back
| groud in other words? Thanks!!!! The Media chica from TWU Allison
As you can tell from the replies, although this is the first, basic
question one would naturally ask, it is fraught with lots of controversy
and difficulty, even in forming the question. What are Celts, or even
more broadly, what is ethnicity and culture?
Most fundamentally, Celts were people speaking Celtic languages, which
means that the archaeological record is essentially silent. However, to
add to the confusion, there are "Germanic" tribes recorded by the
Classical authors with Celtic names, and vice versa. Also used for
information are the records of later Celtic scribes (mostly monks), placenames
and folklore (in addition to archaeology and Classical sources).
It would be wrong to equate race with culture. The Celts were and are a
cultural and ethnic group, "united" by general cultural patterns, but not
necessarily racially unified at all. Therefore, saying that they "came"
from some place is barking up the wrong tree.
The best introductions to the Celts, in my opinion, are:
"The Pagan Celts" (aka "The Everyday Life of the Pagan Celts") by Anne
"The Celtic World" by Barry Cunliffe.
"The Celtic Realms" by Nora Chadwick and Myles Dillon.
The detailed and comprehensive (and expensive!) Venice exhibition book
has also been mentioned here, and is certainly worth a look.